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View Full Version : Should USA Return to Isolationism?


adios
02-26-2003, 03:21 PM
Should the USA abandon it's committments to Israel? Should the USA pull all of it's troops out of the middle east? How about in South Korea and Japan? Maybe keep the Monroe Doctrine. No more bin Laden, no more terrorist threats, no more crazy Kim.

IrishHand
02-26-2003, 03:42 PM
There's a world of difference between "isolationism" and not dominating so many 'lesser' countries and peoples.

The best thing for Americans (at least in the short run) is to work only for the interests of Americans - maintain access to vital resources (re. oil), ensure (re. coerce) favorable trade agreements, etc. The best thing for humans (including Americans) is to work for the best interests of humanity.

What would happen if we didn't have a huge military presence in the Middle East? Oil prices would rise - which would have a big effect on the US economy in the short run (and an effect which no sensible administration would allow, since it would ensure that administration didn't return in 0-4 years). We'd be forced to find *gasp* alternatives to having millions of single-occupant vehicles all over the roads. We'd find alternatives to gas-driven vehicles, and we'd place a greater emphasis on public transit. In the end, you'd have less pollution, less dependance on other nations (that oil we were talking about). Of course, the removal of our military in the Middle East would also result in a dramatical reduction in anti-Americanism. They're happy to trade with us, they just don't like all the terms being dictated from the safe end of a gun.

I realize that's a serious generalization, but the basic idea holds. We're locked into a lifestyle and way of thinking, and we're prepared to kill to keep it.

B-Man
02-26-2003, 04:05 PM
Unfortunately, isolationism will not end the threat of terrorism, it may even encourage it (since our enemies might view us as "retreating" or admitting defeat, and see that as a sign of weakness). The goal of militant Islam is to convert the entire world to Islam, and to kill all the "infidels" who refuse to convert. People like Bin Laden and his followers will not quit until they win or are destroyed... I realize that only a minority of Muslims subscribe to militant Islam, but when you are talking about over a billion people, even a small minority amounts to quite a few people.

Don't believe the nonsense about Bin Laden, etc. hating the U.S. because of our Middle East policies. They hate us because we are different, and because of what we believe in. Their religous beliefes are the reason they hate us. Our Middle East policies are just a handy excuse.

As for "crazy Kim," he is just that, crazy. I don't see how reverting to isolationism would help. In fact, that is not even what he wants--he wants more aid from the U.S. The fact that he was getting it and secretly working on nukes behind our backs (in violation of agreements) shows what kind of character he has. Everything he is doing right now is blackmail for one thing--money.

And Saddam, he would be the biggest threat of all. He would rebuild his army, take over Kuwait again, and try to take over as many other countries as he could until someone stopped him.

I don't think giving in to, or ignoring, the dictators, lunatics and terrorists of the world will solve any problems. It will just cause more problems for innocent people overseas.

adios
02-26-2003, 05:12 PM
"Unfortunately, isolationism will not end the threat of terrorism, it may even encourage it (since our enemies might view us as "retreating" or admitting defeat, and see that as a sign of weakness). The goal of militant Islam is to convert the entire world to Islam, and to kill all the "infidels" who refuse to convert. People like Bin Laden and his followers will not quit until they win or are destroyed... I realize that only a minority of Muslims subscribe to militant Islam, but when you are talking about over a billion people, even a small minority amounts to quite a few people.

Don't believe the nonsense about Bin Laden, etc. hating the U.S. because of our Middle East policies. They hate us because we are different, and because of what we believe in. Their religous beliefes are the reason they hate us. Our Middle East policies are just a handy excuse. "

A handy excuse for more than Bin Laden. Ok that makes sense. Since terrorism is a threat to the USA and won't go away if we disengage the only aternative that makes sense is to engage them. Seems like the best place to engage them then is on their turf. So the USA must have a presence in the Middle East.

"As for "crazy Kim," he is just that, crazy. I don't see how reverting to isolationism would help. In fact, that is not even what he wants--he wants more aid from the U.S. The fact that he was getting it and secretly working on nukes behind our backs (in violation of agreements) shows what kind of character he has. Everything he is doing right now is blackmail for one thing--money."

So the situation with Kim requires a different kind of engagement. Those that complain that we have no right to disarm Saddam due to the fact that we are not doing the same to Kim are using fallacious logic. That makes sense.

"And Saddam, he would be the biggest threat of all. He would rebuild his army, take over Kuwait again, and try to take over as many other countries as he could until someone stopped him. "

So our allies in the Middle East were put at risk by Saddam and removing him from Kuwait was a legitimate and worthwhile goal. We've seen first hand how an armed Saddam is a dangerous and aggressive force that will eventually have to be confronted militarily.

"I don't think giving in to, or ignoring, the dictators, lunatics and terrorists of the world will solve any problems. It will just cause more problems for innocent people overseas."

So any kind of policy of benign neglect of the Saddams, Bin Ladans, and "Crazy" Kims of the world is foolish and irresponsible

MMMMMM
02-26-2003, 05:56 PM
Too bad some of the "relativists" "PC folks" "multiculturalists" and "appeasers" can't see things so clearly.

adios
02-26-2003, 06:25 PM
Could you imagine the screaming and hollering by those who oppose the republicans if the USA actually decided to withdraw from it's committments abroad?

Clarkmeister
02-26-2003, 06:58 PM
When you 3 are done stroking each other, please replace the Vaseline.

IrishHand
02-26-2003, 10:44 PM
Best analysis of a thread I've read all year.

Chris Alger
02-26-2003, 10:48 PM
My answer to all of your questions is no.

andyfox
02-27-2003, 03:05 AM
Has any major U.S. political figure advocated isolationism?

Zeno
02-27-2003, 03:47 AM
Did not Pat Boo-Cannon have some isolationist doctrine awhile back? I never really keep up on these witchdoctors but I half remember some pundits ranting against this or for this or something.

Of course how Major a politician he his is a debate. But I detest political debates. So I must leave now.

-Zeno

nicky g
02-27-2003, 08:01 AM
"The fact that he was getting it and secretly working on nukes behind our backs (in violation of agreements) shows what kind of character he has. "

In violation of an agreement? Oh no! The US would never violate an international agreement, that's for sure. And I'm sure if t did, we would all agree to punitive measures in response, right?

Why would Saddam reinvade Kuwait? So he could get bombed to hell again? Incidentally, does anyone know the history to the previous invasion of Kuwait/what Saddam's pretext was? Hint: it wasn't just for fun.

adios
02-27-2003, 09:12 AM
In the scope of US history non-isolationism is a fairly new thing. As Zeno mentioned Pat Buchanon has advocated such a policy more or less. I mean if the USA is only doing bad in the world, let's stop and mind our own business. We'll solve our own problems (we've got plenty), Iraq can solve theirs, Israel and the Palestiniams can solve theirs, Europe can solve theirs, North Korea can solve theirs, etc.

B-Man
02-27-2003, 09:31 AM
In violation of an agreement? Oh no! The US would never violate an international agreement, that's for sure.

Here we go again, the typical, liberal two-wrongs-make-a-right argument.

Why would Saddam reinvade Kuwait? So he could get bombed to hell again?

He would do it to steal their oil and to further his goals of conquest. He would be under no threat of getting bombed again if the U.S. returned to isolationism--that is the pretext under which the question was raised. Obviously right now he couldn't do it, but if the U.S. left the neighborhood, he could rebuild his army and do whatever he wanted, as I said.

Incidentally, does anyone know the history to the previous invasion of Kuwait/what Saddam's pretext was? Hint: it wasn't just for fun.

I hope you are not suggesting the invasion of Kuwait and the burning of their oil wells was justified by anything may have claimed as a legitimate reason, are you?

nicky g
02-27-2003, 11:59 AM
"Here we go again, the typical, liberal two-wrongs-make-a-right argument"

That's not a fair characterisation of my point. They don't. My point is that the US should look to home before running around waging wars on other countries. Why should you expect any respect or help if you refuse to honour international treaties but insist that others do?

"I hope you are not suggesting the invasion of Kuwait and the burning of their oil wells was justified by anything may have claimed as a legitimate reason, are you? "

There is a deifference between justifying something and providing a background. The Gulf war could quite easily have been averted. Fistly, the US ambassador to the Iraq told Saddam that the US would not interfere in inter-Arab problems in the build up to the invasion, which was not particularly smart. Secondly, Iraq's economy was being crippled at the time by vast overproduction of oil by Kuwait and the UAE, way above the agreed OPEC amount. The US did not put any kind of real pressure on Kuwait to stop, and indeed there are suggestions that it was behind the decisions - it told Kuwait that it could carry on because the US would protect it from invasion (while telling Iraq something very different). Thirdly, Bush rejected several offers to unilaterally withdraw from Kuwait in return for a ceasefire and negotiations on the oil problem, and then massacred the retreating Iraq army during its retreat. Fourthly, the vast majority of the stories to justify the war (that Iraqi soldiers were throwing babies out of cradles, that Iraqi troops were building up on the Saudi border) turned out to be out-and-out fabrications.

None of these things justify either the invasion or the burning of the oilfields. They do show that the war could have been averted, that the US was complict in starting it, that it could have been resolved peacefully and with far fewer Iraqi deaths, and that the idea that Saddam simply wants to take over Kuwait for Iraqi imperialist reasons is absurd. Prior to the Gulf war Saddam had settled most outstanding disagreements with Kuwait, that previous Iraqi governemnts had refused to compromise on. The US itself has invaded countries and toppled governments for far serious matters.

andyfox
02-27-2003, 01:58 PM
Mr. Buchanan doesn't qualify as a major politician. I have heard no leader of either political party say that the United States only does bad in the world. I have heard no leader say we should not be involved in attempting to solve the Israeli-Palestinian situation. I have heard none say that Saddam is a fine fellow, let's not worry about him at all, leave him to do as he wishes. I have heard none say that North Korea should be of no concern to us (and I have heard many say we should be paying rather more attention to that country).

No serious politician has recommended isolationism since the onset of the Cold War.

adios
02-27-2003, 03:15 PM
"No serious politician has recommended isolationism since the onset of the Cold War."

Because a serious politician hasn't recommended an idea doesn't mean that it isn't worth considering. Anyway the USA more or less has to be involved in a lot of political situations throughout the world.

AmericanAirlines
02-27-2003, 10:19 PM
OK everybody... So what's the solution to the Mid-East problem exactly?

Enough debate...

What exactly would you do if you had the power to decide?

Sincerely,
AA

P.S. I'm for building an base economy that's independant of outside sources, but participating in world trade such that we don't have a deficit.

But then I haven't thought out all the ramifications of that idea.

adios
02-27-2003, 10:37 PM
Actually it does have some appeal. The cold war gave rise to a more active role in foreign affairs by the USA. However, the cold war is over (flame away) and it's debatable how much the USA can really do in the Middle East for instance. There was a deal on the table in 2000 that the USA tried to broker that Arafat walked away from. Phase out foreign aid over a period of time, announce that your doing so, remind those that might be inclined unprovoked attacks against the USA that we have to capability the wipe them off the face of the earth 10 times over and we've used such force in the past, build an economy as you suggest, maintain free trade .... I think you get the picture.

John Ho
03-01-2003, 06:17 AM
Drop our support of Israel and allow it to be conquered. Eventually the Arab nations will realize it was not Israel that was the source of all their misery but their own ineptness. Societies will change and democracy will emerge. Perhaps the Middle East can become a vibrant part of the world again.

This won't happen with the Israel issue inflaming everyone. Plus the US doesn't really have an vital interest in keeping Israel around. All our support of Israel has done is cause us problems.

John Ho
03-01-2003, 06:21 AM
Your bashing of "liberals" was ridiculous. You can't criticize someone for breaking international agreements while at the same time flaunting others yourself and expect people to take that seriously.

It also strains credibility to say other nations must not develop nukes when we have enough to destroy the world many times over. It's a tough problem and not as simple as you portray. If I led a country I certainly would want to develop nukes to increase my nation's security.

IrishHand
03-01-2003, 09:33 AM
Drop our support of Israel and allow it to be conquered.
Israel has the military power to take over most of the Middle East if they were so inclined (no mystery where that military power originated). At this point, we could drop all of our support now and it would take many years before that ceased to be the case. The Iraqi Air Force pilots, for example, are - on a 1-for-1 basis, better than our pilots. (They win the majority of the international "Top Gun"-style training competitions our military organizes annually with it's training partners.)

MMMMMM
03-01-2003, 10:46 AM
"Drop our support of Israel and allow it to be conquered."

As Irish pointed out, Israel being conquered wouldn't be in the cards anytime soon.

"Eventually the Arab nations will realize it was not Israel that was the source of all their misery but their own ineptness."

They now think it's not only Israel, but the entire West, led by the USA, that is the source of their misery. So without Israel much of the same problem would still remain.


"Societies will change and democracy will emerge. Perhaps the Middle East can become a vibrant part of the world again."

Hopefully sooner rather than later.

John Ho
03-02-2003, 02:16 AM
I think they are far too outnumbered to put up much of a defense if all the Arab countries attack. But if it's just some of the smaller ones they might hold off. But let's face it they are surrounded and if we didn't support them they would lose.

MMMMMM
03-02-2003, 05:59 AM
My problems with this are several. First, dropping a friend and ally out of mere convenience is not something I would care to do. Second, the Arabs all hate Israel--and they already have 99.9% of the regional land mass--and the sooner they get it through their heads that Israel is here to stay the better for all concerned: they can just forget about that .1%. Third, Irael kicked the hell out of them in the Yom Kippur war and was about to expand her territories FAR beyond what they presently are; if a brokered peace had not been arranged in which
Israel withdrew, Israel might well own Cairo and the Suez canal right now. Israel could literally defeat ALL of the surrounding states right now, although that could change over time. Finally, I don't see that despotic backwards totalitarian regimes should be allowed to overwhelm democracies. I think there is something to be said for keeping totalitarianism in check.

B-Man
03-03-2003, 01:09 PM
Your bashing of "liberals" was ridiculous. You can't criticize someone for breaking international agreements while at the same time flaunting others yourself and expect people to take that seriously.

So what are you saying? That because the U.S. has broken international agreements in the past, we can not criticize any other country that violates any agreement? Basically, you are arguing that two wrongs make a right, and that is absurd. Don't try to link unrelated subjects. The U.S. had an agreement with North Korea, and they broke it. To say that we can't criticize them because in the past we have broken completely unrelated agreements is ridiculous. Take this argument to its logical end and no agreements mean anything, ever. Instead of bringing up past, unrelated actions by the U.S., I suggest you focus on the matter at hand.

It also strains credibility to say other nations must not develop nukes when we have enough to destroy the world many times over. It's a tough problem and not as simple as you portray. If I led a country I certainly would want to develop nukes to increase my nation's security.

So what is your point? We should sit back and do nothing while countries like Iraq and North Korea acquire nuclear weapons? That makes a lot of sense, just ignore the problem and hope it goes away. I'm glad you are not in charge...

IrishHand
03-03-2003, 05:02 PM
Your logic is atrocious. You change positions faster than the US comes up with new reasons we need to attack Iraq asap. I realize you're in love with the expression "two wrongs make a right", but seriously...

That because the U.S. has broken international agreements in the past, we can not criticize any other country that violates any agreement?
No - because we've broken international agreements in the past, we expect anyone to take us seriously when we critize others for breaking the same agreements. More specifically, since we ignore UN resolutions we don't like (or better yet - just veto them out of hand!), it's pretty hypocritical to say - hey look! This resolution looks to be a good one! - let's hammer them for not following it.

For your hollow "two wrongs make a right" position to be accurate, someone would need to argue that since the US sabotages UN initiatives, it's ok for others to do the same. Nobody's (or at least nobody here is) saying that it's ok for Iraq to violate UN resolutions. What's being argued is that (a) it's not appropriate for the US to be leading the "they violated a UN resolution, let's go get 'em" charge (which isn't to say the US can't and isn't relying on other debatable premises) and, more importantly, (b) that war isn't the consequence of violating a UN resolution.

It's a really good idea to figure out what people are actually discussing before you start making attempts at passing judgment.

B-Man
03-03-2003, 05:27 PM
My logic isn't attrocious, you and the rest of the anti-war crowd just love to change the point, change the discussion, and distract from the true issue. Whether the U.S. has vetoed U.N. resolutions is irrelevant to what we are discussing, and personally I could not care less whether anyone "takes us seriously."

Whenever liberals can't win an international relations argument on the merits, they insist on bringing up past, unrelated, allegedly "bad-acts" by the U.S., why I don't know, but ostensibly to distract people from the issue at hand. The fact that we sold arms to support the Contras has nothing to do with Iraq pursuing WMD and refusing to disarm. We also used to have slavery in this country, does that mean we have no moral authority forever?

Iraq is in violation of 1441 and other U.N. resolutions, and has repeatedly refused to disarm. This is a separate issue from past acts by the U.S. If I mug you and you shoplifted three years earlier, does that mean I shouldn't be prosecuted for mugging you?

IrishHand
03-03-2003, 09:23 PM
Your logic remains atrocious - but hey - at least you've added making things up to your repertoire.

(1) If I wanted to distract people, I'd post links to naked women.
(2) I've never referred to selling arms to Contras in relation to the Iraq issue.
(3) I've never referred to slavery in relation to the Iraq issue.

And now back to the atrocious logic:

If I mug you and you shoplifted three years earlier, does that mean I shouldn't be prosecuted for mugging you?
No. However, if you mug someone three years ago, then want to act as judge, jury and executioner against someone else accused of mugging someone, I'd suggest that might not be the fairest solution.

More to the point, I have no idea (nor does anyone else, I'd guess) have any idea what you're trying to prove. Like some others around these parts, I see an abundance of opinions and conclusory assertions on your part with absolutely no evidence to support either. Since my goal is apparently to distract people from the "issue at hand", what exactly is that issue?

B-Man
03-03-2003, 10:08 PM
I suggest re-reading my original response to the post, it is pretty clear. The U.S. returning to isolationism is not going to solve anything.

As for making things up, I never accused you of saying those things. I was simply pointing out how ridiculous it is for you and some other posters to bring up unrelated arguments. For example, I said North Korea broke its agreement with the U.S., and Nicky made a sarcastic remark about the U.S. violating international agreements. What exactly does that have to do with North Korea working on nukes in direct violation of an agreement between North Korea and the U.S.? About as much to do with the situation as the U.S. selling arms to support the Contras (i.e. not much). Yet posters on this board--including you--continually point out past, unrelated acts by the U.S. when discussing current issues. It makes no sense (other than the fact that you get some kind of enjoyment out of bashing this country). Apparently you are a self-loathing sailor.

You have way too much time on your hands, especially for someone who considers himself an expert on every subject and loves to talk.